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Augustinian friars

Augustinian friars (or Austin friars) were founded by Pope Alexander IV in 1256 from a number of small hermit communities in Italy. They were given the rule of St Augustine of Hippo (see Augustinian canons) which the Dominicans, whose constitution they largely followed, also observed. Though they were a mendicant order they continued some eremetical observances and their first foundations were located away from towns. Soon, however, they established themselves in urban areas and in England, where their first community was founded in 1248–9 at Clare, by the dissolution they were found in nearly 40 places, usually substantial towns or ports, such as Grimsby, Hull, and King's Lynn, as well as Oxford and Cambridge. The Cambridge house was a centre of the early Reformation in England, and Luther was an Augustinian friar at Erfurt.

Brian Golding

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